3D printing and CNC machining are both popular automated technologies for producing parts and prototypes. 3D printing is an additive process that involves layering material to create a desired shape, while CNC machining is a subtractive process that removes excess from a block of material to create a shape. These different processes lead to four primary differences between projects using CNC machines and 3D printers:
Because removing excess material is quicker than assembling an object from scratch, CNC machines require much less production time. However, CNC machines usually require more time before production to allow the CNC operator to set up the machine. 3D printers take longer to shape objects but require less set-up time.
Well-maintained CNC machines are more precise than even high-end 3D printers. Due to their precision, CNC machines are often used to make parts for engines, airplanes, and heavy machinery. However, some complex shapes are impossible to create with CNC machining. CNC machines may also suffer in precision if the tools are dull or damaged, or if there is an error in the software data. That’s why choosing an experienced CNC machining pressure vessel components manufacturer is so important.
In most cases, 3D printers are limited to working with thermoplastics and resins, though thermoplastics can be mixed with other materials such as ceramics, metal, and wood. CNC machines are much more versatile and can create objects from a wide range of materials, including metal, wood, acrylic, foam, wax, and thermoplastics. But while CNC machines are versatile, they are also waste more material than 3D printers.
While cost largely depends on the material and complexity of the project, 3D printers are only cost-effective for highly complex, low-quantity projects, while CNC machines are better suited to mass production. When producing over 500 parts, however, other methods such as steel forging are likely more cost-effective.
Call an API Blind Flange Manufacturer Today
If you need industrial flanges, Forged Components, Inc. has over a decade of experience custom CNC machining connections for pressure vessels. For more information about our carbon steel flange manufacturing, call us at (281) 441-4088 or contact us online.